A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Shawn Carroll: New Perceptions annual dinner — celebrating its 68th year — is going virtual this year

New Perceptions Annual Dinner is going virtual. To celebrate New Perceptions 68th birthday, we are working with a local entity to help our heartfelt event go on and will share details when they are firm.

Due to the pandemic, the in-person event scheduled for August 25, had to be cancelled.

What a remarkable year this has been. Understatement of the year.

In this most unusual time in my lifetime, I have been amazed by the 
number of good things that folks are doing for one another.

My team
members have been here throughout keeping the supply chain going for
 our medical partner and we have also accepted the responsibility of 
packing 5000 lunches per week for a charitable organization to
 distribute the children of our area who can’t receive school lunches.

Our Work Center team members willingly fulfilled the duties of our participants to make sure that we would be viable when they return. We miss our participants on campus deeply; they are obviously the heart and soul of why we do what we do.

They call here daily and we have had parents drive them by for a visit with the proper social distancing. Those events recharge our batteries and help us focus on the reason New Perceptions exist.

Shawn Carroll

Our Children’s staff are visiting kids through teleintervention. We have a number of families who were not interested in that model and have put services on hold until after the quarantine restrictions are relaxed and we can return to families’ homes.

We have not laid anyone off in any area and I am proud to say the board and I have weathered many storms in doing so.

Finally, I must tell you about our Supported Employment division. As you know, we support nearly 400 individuals in jobs in the Northern Kentucky community. A number of our guys have been laid off with restaurants especially hit hard and other entities. That being said, our guys in the grocery stores and at Amazon and DHL have had the offer of more hours than ever.

Thirty-five of the 37 individuals we support in the grocery business are still working. While many employees in other fields are laid off, working from home or have chosen to self-quarantine, our guys are on the front line.

I wonder how many of us understand that the individual with so-called disabilities are now considered ESSENTIAL.

New Perceptions has always considered this population essential. It has taken a pandemic for so many in the community to completely understand the value of those we are so fortunate to serve. A beautiful reminder of what life is all about when we take time to think about it and we sure have time to think about a lot of good things.

Shawn Carroll is executive director of New Perceptions.

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